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All hell was breaking loose. She should have known better than telling Bina her intention concerning their introduction in church. Now he was very angry with her. But what could she have done? She had tried calling him, but he couldn’t meet with her because of his work. Well, meeting him in church was the alternative since she couldn’t wait till he had his off day. She just hadn’t planned for his volatile reaction. He had given her a look that could kill her and then stormed off to tell Doubara.
Doubara stood before her now regarding her with eyes spitting fire.
“Did you really call off the introduction?” She inquired, lips turned up in disapproval.
“For crying out loud, I did not call off the introduction.” Ebika replied, throwing her hands up in exasperation. “Why can’t Bina understand the difference between ‘postpone’ and ‘call off’?”
“I doubt you know the difference, Ebika.” Doubara said coolly, crossing her arms across her chest.
Ebika glowered at her. “Don’t start, Doubara.”
Doubara let out a tired sigh. “What exactly is going on, Ebika? Please, tell me.” She urged.
Ebika looked away from her. “Nothing.” She said.
Doubara drew close to her. “There is something, Ebika.” She responded, her voice strong with conviction.
Ebika threw her hands up again, stepping away from Doubara. “I just feel we should hold on a bit. What is wrong with that, Doubie?” She faced her with challenging eyes. Doubara stared back.
A minute passed.
Ebika started squirming under her persistent stare. She shifted from one foot to the other. “What exactly do you want me to say, Doubie?”
“Ebika,” Doubara started in a softer tone. “I don’t want you to make a mistake. Whether you tell me or not, I know this has to do with that friend of yours from the past.”
Ebika looked away.
“Bull’s eye! I knew it.” Doubara pointed a finger at her. “But why, Ebika?”
“But nothing, Doubara.” Ebika’s lower lip quivered. “I haven’t broken up with Bina. We just need time. I still… well… like Bina.”
“Like? Like you say, Ebika.”
Ebika shrugged. “Well, I mean… I lo… love Bina.”
Doubara shook a finger at her. “Tsk, you can’t even convince me, how much more Bina.”
“Where is he?” Ebika asked, changing the subject.
“He stormed off after he told me you called off the introduction. He went that way.” Doubara nodded towards the exit beside the pastor’s office.
Ebika touched Doubara’s arm. “Trust me, Doubie, I know what I am doing.”
“If you say so.” Doubara replied in a cheerless tone.
“Let me go and look for Bina. I need to explain things to him. I didn’t call off the introduction. I only postponed it.”
Doubara gave a nod. Ebika patted her arm and went off.
She met Bina at the back of the church auditorium. He stood against a pillar with a faraway look in his eyes, arms akimbo. She walked quietly to him and touched his arm. He turned slowly and looked at her.
“Bina, you got it all wrong. I didn’t call off our introduction. I only postponed it.” She said, injecting what love she had left for him into her words.
A sad smile curved his lips. “Ebika, I can feel what you are not telling me. I can see it in your eyes. I can hear it in your words.”
It was her turn to look into the distance. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Bina.” She answered in a whispery tone.
“You know, Ebika, all I want to know is where I got it wrong. What did I do exactly?”
“Why are you asking me that? Why do you sound like I’m the bad person here? You sound like I’ve done something wrong.” Her voice thinned with veiled anger.
“I didn’t call you a bad person. I just want to know why you suddenly have cold feet.”
“Cold feet huh? Isn’t it enough for me to have cold feet? You don’t even know what I want. You don’t listen to me. You don’t do fun things with me. We struggle to keep money flowing between us. How do we cope when we get married?” The words flew out of her mouth in anger. “Oh yes, I’m postponing our introduction until I’m sure you are man enough.”
Bina’s jaw went slack. “I’m suddenly not man enough after two years.” His heart thumped within his chest. Things were going from bad to worse.
“What does it matter how long we’ve been together? Thank God I didn’t rush into anything, Bina. I still want us to take our time.”
Bina’s eyes grew very cold as he regarded her. “For how long, Ebika?” He inquired.
Ebika pulled her right ear lightly. “Huh, I don’t know. Sometime soon, but not now.”
“I can see that you don’t take us seriously, Ebika. You can’t just decide without me. We should have talked about it. Well, since you started it, I’m also going to take my stand. If truly you want to be with me, then we will have the introduction as we originally planned. If this relationship ever mattered to you, then you will do the right thing. I’m giving you tonight to think over it and give me an answer. If by tomorrow, I don’t hear from you, I’ll take it our relationship is over.” His words dripped with icy chill. His tone reflected his seriousness.
The look in Bina’s eyes sent a tremor down her back. Ebika didn’t doubt him for once. “Bina, you don’t understand.” She tried to reason with him.
“I have tried to understand, Ebika, but it has been difficult. It’s time we decide. We either move forward or we stop. The ball is in your court. Let me know tomorrow.” He ended his statement and walked away from her without a backward glance.
Ebika watched his departing back and felt the fire burning within her. Her plan had turned against her. It was time for drastic measures. She quickly pulled out her phone. Her hands moved swiftly over the keyboard as she typed a message to Tolu. She couldn’t lose.
Eladebi’s voice was grating his nerves. Tolu picked up his pillow and placed it over his head, but still her voice floated to him through the closed door. He got up, gritting his teeth. Why couldn’t she just observe her night devotion quietly? Oh no, she must sing. It was amazing that she still had such joy after what he did to her. He placed his right elbow on the pillow and settled his jaw on the opened palm. His brow drew together in deep thought. Why hadn’t Eladebi reported him? Why did she relate with him as if all was well with them?
His eyes went to the wardrobe. The same wardrobe where his ironed clothes had been put away by his wife some minutes before she called the children for devotion. He had gone through them to find fault, but found none. As usual, Eladebi proved to be the efficient wife she was. Even her food seemed to taste better than before. He drummed his fingers against his jaw. Something has to be done or else he would be caught in between. If Ebika found out his secret, he would pay dearly with his heart shattered completely. Better to deal with Eladebi soon.
That was the million dollar question on his mind even as his wife prayed for him in the living room. Ebika had given him the green light. He had to do something too. He stood up and started pacing the room, trying to lay hands on the numerous ideas flying through his mind. While this was on, his phone announced a text message.
He picked up the phone from the bed and read the message from Ebika quickly.
‘The coast is clear for us.
Things moved faster than I expected.
Am all yours now, my love.
Everything now lies with you.
Let’s chat later and discuss what we’ll do next.
Tolu punched the air. “Yes!” he exclaimed, a wide smile spreading across his lips. “Finally, I can have Ebika all to myself.” He raised his shoulders and moved about the room with arms widespread by his side. “I have gotten what I want. Ebika belongs to me.” He burst into happy laughter.
Eladebi walked into the room at that moment, singing. She stopped abruptly when she met him in a happy mood. “What is going on here?” She asked.
Tolu turned suddenly, causing Eladebi to jump. “It’s none of your business.” He told her.
Eladebi regarded him for a few beats before she turned away from him and pulled out her night dress from the wardrobe. Tolu snatched the dress from her. He marched to the door, threw it open and flung out the dress. Eladebi ran to him.
“Why did you do that?” Eladebi cried.
Tolu fixed her with menacing eyes. “From now on, you will sleep in the guest room. I have no need of you here, and I wish not to see your face every of my waking hour.” He told her, nose flaring.
Aside a brief flicker that appeared in Eladebi’s face, she showed no emotion. She picked up her night dress and faced him.
“Good night, my love.” She said with a smile.
Tolu watched her, totally speechless. He stood in the same spot even after she closed the door behind her. Guilt twisted his inside. Eladebi didn’t deserve the treatment he was meting to her. A line appeared between his brows. It was getting difficult to bend Eladebi and get on with Ebika.
He went back into the room, slowly this time. He plopped down on the bed, eyes lifted up. “Being with Ebika is much more pleasant than spending the rest of my life in a loveless marriage.” His expression hardened. He drew himself up. “I won’t give up. Eladebi must leave. My life is with Ebika and not her, especially now that nothing is stopping Ebika.”